Warning Signs

Don't Ask

Ask a job applicant the wrong questions and you're likely to end up in serious legal trouble. Federal and state employment laws protect applicants against interviewers who probe too deeply about their personal lives. Avoid the following questions:

  • What is your date of birth?
  • What is your place of birth?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you own a home?
  • Have you ever filed a workers' compensation claim?
  • Would working late cause problems with your child-care arrangements?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

For a more complete guide to what questions you can and cannot ask, see The Employer's Legal Handbook, by Fred S. Steingold (Nolo Press, $29.95, 800-992-6656).

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Warning Signs.

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